In protest against non-payment of dues, Indian hockey players have decided to boycott the ongoing World Cup preparatory camp in New Delhi camp for an indefinite period in protest
The unprecedented step from the players came after Hockey India, the interim body which is governing the game in the country, failed to respond to two of their letters asking the authorities to make the payments.
“We have decided to boycott the camp indefinitely till we are paid our money. We took such a decision in a meeting of players last night,” captain Rajpal Singh said.
“Earlier we used to be paid after every tournament but it is not the case now. We had reminded the HI officials a few times, but nothing has been done. We will now report to the camp only after we are paid,” Rajpal said.
It should be noted that the revolt from the players comes merely a month ahead of the
Hockey World Cup scheduled to be played from February 28 to March 13, and is bound to affect preparation for the mega event.
The senior players, irked at the delay in payment, had written a letter to Hockey Indian President AK Mattoo demanding that money should be paid within seven days.
Though there was no mention of the pullout in the letter, reports said that the players had actually decided to withdraw from the camp if the payment was not made in a week.
Hockey India (HI) is, however, confident of sorting out the issue and has called some of the senior players for a meeting in New Delhi on Saturday.
Six of the senior players – captain Rajpal Singh, Sardara Singh, Prabhjot Singh, Sandeep Singh, Tushar Khandekar and Arjun Halappa – will be in Delhi on Saturday for a promotional shoot and are expected to meet the HI officals to sort out the payment issue.
“I had received their letter two days back. I have mailed my response to them yesterday. I have called them for a meeting when the players come to Delhi tomorrow,” HI President A K Mattoo said.
“I will talk to them and look into the matter to understand what exactly their grievances are. I am confident that we will sort out the problem soon,” he said.
Although the players claimed that they had given HI time till January 8 to resolve the issue, Mattoo said no such deadline was given to them.
“There was no mention of the deadline in the letter. Above all, they are the national hockey players. They should not have threatened us. They can’t keep the dagger on my head to make me work. But we are confident about working out a solution when we talk to them,” Mattoo said.
The players said that on the previous occasions they were paid money in advance but this time the fee has not been paid even after the conclusion of the tournament.